Photo: Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Combined Collection represents some of the most significant American stage photography of the past 40 years

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is pleased to announce that the Billy Rose Theatre Division has made the archives of Joan Marcus and Carol Rosegg publicly accessible.  The collected work by the prominent theater photographers was acquired in 2018. It represents one of the largest digital acquisitions of photography ever made by the Library

Marcus and Rosegg, close friends who shared a studio running parallel businesses for two decades, captured images of the majority of Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning productions in New York and across the country since 1980, and have shot hundreds of studio and location portraits of actors and other theater artists.

Marcus began her career photographing productions at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, as well as other theaters in the nation’s capital. After moving to New York in 1992, she began working on Broadway, and at leading institutional theaters in the city. Some of the original Broadway productions in her collection, and for which she is best known, include, Angels in America, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, RENT and Hamilton.

Rosegg started off as Martha Swope’s assistant during the heyday of Swope’s career. Michael Bennett, George Balanchine, Bob Fosse, Martha Graham were all alive and working—Swope photographed them all, and Rosegg became a part of this theater history. Throughout her time with Swope, Rosegg shot on her own such theater companies as New York City Opera, Vineyard Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre—from off-off Broadway to one-act festivals to touring and Broadway productions. Rosegg established her own practice in 1994.

The acquisition of these two archives continues the Billy Rose Theatre Division’s tradition of collecting theatre photography, maintaining its position as one of the largest collections of this material in the world. The division holds archives of theatre photography dating as early as Lucas White starting in the 1910s, Vandamm, Friedman-Abeles, Kenn Duncan, and Martha Swope.

In a public program on September 12 at Library for the Performing Arts, Joan Marcus and Carol Rosegg will speak with Roma Torre about their 30 years of documenting theatre. 

An exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts highlighting selections of the work is scheduled for 2024.

About Joan Marcus
Joan Marcus is one of the preeminent theatrical photographers working in the US today. Over the past 40 years she has photographed over 500 shows on and off Broadway and regionally. She began her career in Washington, DC, printing photographs for the photographer at the Kennedy Center where she realized that performing arts photography was her calling.  She honed her skills shooting shows at Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Wooly Mammoth as well as the Kennedy Center before moving to New York City. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Marcus graduated from George Washington University. In 2014, she received a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre.

About Carol Rosegg
Carol Rosegg grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas. After attending Tufts University, she moved to New York City in the late 1970s. Rosegg assisted Martha Swope in photographing Broadway shows, as well as dance companies, and press opportunities. Swope became Rosegg’s mentor, teacher and friend and opened the door to her career. Since then she has photographed extensively in New York City and many regional companies. She has covered all types of theatre from children’s theatre, including ArtsPower and Making Books Sing, to teaching institutions, like Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University, to many Off and Off-Off Broadway companies, such as, Vineyard, Irish Rep, Theatre Breaking Through Boundaries, and York Theatre Company.

About the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Located at Lincoln Center, the Library for the Performing Arts has one of the most extensive performing arts collections in the world. The Library is an archive of dance, theatre, music, and recorded sound, and our close to eight million archival items date back to the 11th Century and include Ludwig Beethoven’s hair, Clara Schuman’s nibbled pencils, a 15th-century dance treatise of dance master Guglielmo d’Ebreo da Pesaro, Anna Pavlova’s pointe shoes, the original set model for In the Heights, and the archives of many masters, including Bill T. Jones, Hal Prince, Jerome Robbins, Arturo Toscanini, and many more.